Detroit is more than broke. It's the biggest city in this shape, but far from alone. Other cities are struggling and a county in Alabama is looking at billions in shortfalls.
So, what happened? People can skate around the real cause, but it's gross mismanagement, corruption and the devaluation of property values. To make things worse, the property values will slip further, which will lead to less services; including law enforcement. Any attraction for business, or new citizens disappears; probably forever.
This didn't happen overnight. Detroit, like many municipalities, suffers from years of problems, and many of these problems are attributed to an entitlement attitude; including progressive values, which always assume there will be somebody to tax and pay the bill. Unlike larger entities, it's far easier to escape a city and people leave as soon as they're able. The precursor to bankruptcy is a mad scramble for money, which translates to higher taxes, with less services. Nobody wants excessive taxes, while living in a cesspool of criminals and corrupt officials.
I look at my hometown. They just elected the same mayor they've had for the last few years. Since I don't keep real close tabs on expenditures, I really don't know what shape the city is in, but I do know the deterioration of the infrastructure is noticeable. Adding to this problem are problems created by the Federal Government. The last remaining areas that could even attract higher property values were hit with Section 8 housing. Those living in these areas not only lost their investments, they now deal with increasing crime. The city has only added to it's eventual destruction.
Things always change, so these economic problems will be solved, although somebody - most likely bond holders - will get screwed in the process. Bankruptcy always leaves those least able to defend their claims with table scraps. The biggest debt holders know anything's better than nothing and accept pennies on the dollar. Smaller debt holders, who can't afford the low return - are left with their own economic problems. These are the locals, and they don't find getting screwed by their own city an example of fiscal responsibility.
Pay attention to your own community. If you don't, be ready to lose all the value of your home, expect increasing crime and have a plan to leave. It's that, or becoming involved with your local politics. It's a choice, and it can be terribly expensive.
In Case You've Wondered
My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.
If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com
One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.
I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.